Posts Tagged ‘landscape assessment’

Landscape assessment for landscape planning in Germany

04:55 PM

Diedrich BRUNS

(From previous issue No.36)

Introduction: ‚landschaftsbild‘ and landscape assessment

German landscape planners have, despite Germany’s long and distinguished tradition of distinctive landscape thinking, developed no direct equivalent of the Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) approach. Instead there exist, on the one hand, a strong focus on natural environment and diversity and special areas, and on the other a number of approaches frequently labelled ‘Landschaftsbild’. The term and concept of Landschaftsbild refers to visual aspects of a Landschaft. Practical landscape assessments are produced that inform and guide planning, design and management. This chapter explores and analyses such ‘Landschaftsbild’ approaches. The one overarching rule that all, administrators and practitioners, have to follow in the contexts of statutory landscape planning is that of the Federal Nature Conservation Act. According to this legislation three main aims and objectives must be referred to: (1) diversity conservation, (2) material and physical functioning and (3) the experience and perception of nature and landscape. For the latter the conservation act provides guidance by specifying that beauty (‘Schönheit’), diversity (‘Vielfalt’) and the specific quality and character (‘Eigenart’) of nature and landscape must be considered.
During the 1960s and 1970s landscape ecology became the foundation upon which modern landscape planning was built.3 Complex analytical tools were put into place that seamlessly fit the rational planning model of the day. Since natural sciences had provided the algorithms that satisfied people’s desire for non-ideological approaches to landscape analysis, algorithms were soon developed to not only measure the “ecological” but also the visual landscape. A milestone is the so called “Diversity Index”.4 With the “Diversity Index” at hand, the Landschaftsbild could now be measured and resulting numbers entered into landscape assessment matrices that resembled those of costbenefit analysis. The Landschaftsbild had effectively been removed from people’s experience of their every-day surroundings; it had become the subject matter of bureaucrats and calculating experts. At the beginning in the early 1990s, not all but some experts started to include members of the public into landscape assessment and to develop argumentative (qualitative) methods.